A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.
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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.
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All times are Eastern.
SATURDAY, Dec. 9
Rookies matter more than ever in the NFL nowadays, and the statistics make that clear: With players such as Kareem Hunt and Deshaun Watson (until he got injured, anyway) making immediate impacts, this season’s rookie class ranks among the strongest since 2000, showing up as No. 1 in rushing yards, No. 2 in TDs scored, No. 3 in receiving yards, No. 4 in total tackles. Still, an AP examination of the past 10 seasons shows that Super Bowl teams tend to rely less on first-year players than others around the league, while the worst clubs (think: Cleveland Browns) keep using plenty of rookies without much to show for it. By Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by Saturday at noon.
– FBN–ROOKIE BOOMS AND BUSTS. A look at a handful of the most, and least, successful NFL rookies this season. By Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos.
MONDAY, Dec. 11
FBN–CBS VS WRS
When the in-game tussles featuring Aqib Talib vs. Michael Crabtree, and Jalen Ramsey vs. A.J. Green played out, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott thought back to a bit of advice he received decades ago, before his San Francisco 49ers faced the Dallas Cowboys. ”`Do not get into a talking match. … Stay focused on the game,”’ Lott said recalled. ”I’m sure that some coach or somebody said, `Don’t get caught up in that’ to the guys involved in these things this season. Whatever the coaches said, it didn’t work.” Sometimes, it seems, conflicts between cornerbacks and wideouts are simply unavoidable. It is a unique dynamic in NFL games week after week: On play after play, CBs and WRs match up 1-on-1, with plenty of grabbing and shoving and, yes, yapping mixed in. By Pro Football Writer Howard Fendrich. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday.
TUESDAY, Dec. 12
FBN–HOME AWAY FROM HOME
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans aren’t home this week. The franchise has relocated to Arizona between back-to-back road games between the Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, and coach Mike Mularkey wanted to avoid the jet lag resulting from returning home. It’s a trick used by lots of NFL teams over the years with Philadelphia spending a week in Los Angeles for the very same reasons. This road trip has required months of planning, trucks, three different airplanes and lots and lots of equipment. By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 13
US-TAX BILL-COLLEGE COACHES
WASHINGTON – If Congress was trying to send a message to schools hiring coaches this fall when it approved a new tax on seven-figure salaries, it hasn’t gotten through yet. Football powers aiming for a national title have continued to pay market rate for proven coaches, topped by the $75 million deal for Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. If the GOP tax overhaul becomes law, the school will have to pay $15 million in new taxes over the life of that contract. By Ben Nuckols. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
THURSDAY, Dec. 14
South Korea won’t turn a state-of-the-art Olympic skating arena into a giant seafood freezer. Few other things are certain about the country’s post-Olympic plans 10 weeks away from the opening ceremony at the small mountain town of Pyeongchang, which will take place amid lingering concerns over the huge financial burden inflicted on one of the nation’s poorest regions. By Kim Tong-Hyung. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos.
Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, assistant sports editor for the U.S. east region, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia(at)ap.org.